After completing an interesting series of seminars, visits to NGOs and health centers run by the Ministry of Public Health, the public health program organized by InteRDom for The Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership’s initiative Partners for Change, concluded with valuable learning.
The group of students from the international development program, began their one week study program with a tour of the facilities of InteRDom’s parent institution, Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), followed by a screening of the PBS film Haiti and the Dominican Republic: An Island Divided, and a seminar on maternal and child health and HIV/AIDS procedures, lead by Dr. Persia Sena, who is a pediatrician and also participated in the first study on the HIV/AIDS vaccine conducted in the Dominican Republic.
After a welcoming luncheon, the group went on a field visit to the Altagracia Maternity Hospital where they were welcomed by Dr. Casilda Nova, OB/GYN, and by a resident doctor at the medical center, who answered their questions on the target beneficiaries of the maternity services provided by the medical center, their socio-economic status, the center’s breast milk bank, the HIV/AIDS preventive programs, and the treatments of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that the center offers, among other topics of interest for the researchers.
The schedule of activities on the following days included a visit to the BRA Dominicana (Batey Relief Alliance) Comprehensive Medical Center, located in Monte Plata, where the researchers had the opportunity to see the BRA (COMBRA) community complex located in Batey Cinco Casas in the Don Juan Municipal District. After touring the facilities, the researchers had an extensive meeting with Matilde Marcial, COMBRA Administrator, in which they discussed the operations of the Community Assistance projects, such as Maternal and Child Health, Multivitamins, and Prevention and Assistance to patients with HIV/AIDS. In addition to meeting with Ms. Marcial, they had conversations with the medical center staff and some service beneficiaries.
Together with a COMBRA representative, the group visited Batey La Jagua, located about five minutes from the medical center, where they spoke with Haitian-Dominican residents about their lifestyle, access to basic services and their needs as a community.
Because of their interest in understanding the reality of public health in the Dominican Republic, the researchers performed a second visit to the Altagracia Maternity Hospital to gain more insights on the medical center’s level of patient treatments. They talked with service beneficiaries and visited other projects, including the breast milk bank. Then visited the San Lorenzo de los Mina Maternity Hospital where the researchers could observe first-hand the holistic concept of health that they had been discussing in class with Professor Lodz Joseph. They observed the interesting project “Kangaroo Mom” for premature babies and discussed the hospital’s activities related to HIV/AIDS.
To conclude their schedule of activities, the group visited the offices of the Alas de Igualdad Foundation in the town of Consuelo, in San Pedro de Macoris, which works with people living in marginalized communities and bateyes. The researchers had the opportunity to talk with Carmen Pie, Director of the Alas de Igualdad Foundation in Consuelo and Head of Legal Affairs of the Alas de Igualdad Foundation; Danilo Romero, liaison officer between the Foundation and the community; and, Mirtha Luis, Head of Social Affairs.
The group Partners for Change received information on projects in education, health, access to water, and human rights that the Alas de Igualdad Foundation carries out in 26 bateyes located in the municipality. One of the things that struck the group was to find out that one of the villages they had visited in the municipality of Hato Mayor has 24-hour electricity, since in the Dominican Republic not all people have access to this service. Their agenda of activities concluded with an exciting adventure of a guided tour to the historic Colonial Zone using Trikke scooters.
The City College of New York Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership’s initiative Partners for Change, is a one-year program that entails community research and fieldwork. Students complete 120 work-hours in community organizations and work together with a professional to complete an applied research project. The project they just completed was designed to acquaint the students with basic public health problems that marginalized populations in the Dominican Republic face and they became acquainted with the socio-economic and political factors and conditions that put these populations at risk for poor health.
InteRDom is an initiative of Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE), is the premier internship, research and academic study program in the Dominican Republic. It offers international students the opportunity to research important topics at the forefront of the United Nations agenda, obtain professional experience by interning with Dominican organizations and businesses related to their fields of study and/or earn academic credits by taking courses and seminars at a local university.